These meatballs are a little labor intensive but are well worth the extra effort. The flavor of the meatball alone is amazing but together with the homemade sweet and sour sauce is out of this world! This entire meal can still be put together in a very active 30 minutes or about 45 minutes if you’re a little more leisurely during the preparation. Yes, you could start with a pre-made meatball and a jarred sauce but the flavors will suffer immensely. Give it a try! I promise you will be glad that you devoted the extra time to it.
My daughter is a huge fan of meatballs so this dish was a must try for her and she loved it. We paired it with steamed rice but you could most certainly try a fried rice as well for a complete “take out” meal at home in less time than it takes for delivery!
What’s great about this dish? It’s full of flavor but still, kid friendly. It costs less than half the cost of take-out and feeds a family of four with some leftover. Because we’ve made it at home, we can control the ingredients and keep this meal both Gluten Free and MSG free.
Sweet & Sour Meatballs
- for the Meatballs
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs OR gluten free breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp house blend seasoning
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp Chinese 5-spice
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tsp, fresh ginger, minced OR ginger paste
- 1 tbsp parsley, minced
- 1 cup celery, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch cubes
- 1 green bell pepper, cut in 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup carrots, sliced thin
- 1 (20 oz can) pineapple chunks, with juice
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water
- For Garnish
- sesame seeds
- sliced green onions
- If you are going to steam rice, start the rice per package instructions and amounts desired on now.
- Pre-heat the oven to 425°F and cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
- Add the meatball ingredients into a medium sized bowl and combine well. Without overworking the meat (which makes a very dense meatball), form into meatballs about the size of a walnut; about 1 to 1.5-inches diameter transferring onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the meatballs for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.
- In a small sauce pan, saute the carrots, celery and bell peppers until tender but still somewhat crispy; about 5 minutes.
- Next, add the brown sugar, soy sauce, cider vinegar, pineapple chunks, reserved pineapple juice and 3 cups of water to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water together and then pour it into the boiling sauce. Stir until thickened, reduce heat and continue cooking for 1 minute longer. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little water or pineapple juice to thin it out.
- Add meatballs into the pan and stir to coat them with sauce and heat through.
- Serve on steamed rice. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.